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Poster: blackduckhistorian Date: Sep 27, 2012 5:06am
Forum: web Subject: Re: Domain resellers blocking waybackmachine

Thank you for replying, it reassures me that I am not alone in this! I only created this account to make this situation public here.

It is the retroactive policy of wayback that is the problem, which sounds good in theory, but means that basically EVERY website that lapses in ownership will disappear from the archive. Effectively, wayback becomes just a temporary archive, which I am sure was not the vision when the project commenced. For example, on the FAQ page they say:

Can I link to old pages on the Wayback Machine?

Yes! The Wayback Machine is built so that it can be used and referenced. If you find an archived page that you would like to reference on your Web page or in an article, you can copy the URL.


What they don't say, or highlight, is that as soon as someone else buys that domain, the content (and the unique archive.org URLs) will be likely to be gone, and gone forever. So what is even the point of the project, archiving all of this, if it is only a temporary repository?

It is now fairly standard that when a domain name lapses, one of these domain name resellers purchases it, and installs the robots.txt to block archive.org. Therefore the archive is only secure, for that particular content, whilst that particular owner has it. Whether a new owner, or domain name reseller, all previous content is likely to disappear forever.

I really hope someone from archive.org is aware of this situation.

Had I known what was going to happen, I would have saved offline copies of all the relevant pages - it was a shock to discover the content gone. The original author and I are trying to recreate most of them from scans and other sources, it would have been so much easier to copy/paste all the text pages. I emailed archive.org about recovery from specific URLs, and they did not reply.